January 3, 2007
Kristina Norman's film documents how the response to settling in a non-native country varies dramatically from individual to individual. Focussing on a Russian Pribalt community now settled in Estonia - of which the artist is a member - Norman interviews some of her childhood friends to examine her own views on the matter. As a resident of Tallinn, Norman presents one element of Estonian life using techniques common to the media of television news channels. However, the hand-held camera Norman uses offers the viewer an image that is both shaky and off centre. Whilst the interviews themselves are moving and informative it is this unpolished quality of the work that communicates the essence of the piece. Members of the Russian-speaking Pribalt community are obliged to learn the local language in order to obtain Estonian citizenship. This policy generates diverse reactions in the individuals interviewed; for some it is a definite source of unfinished business. There is little evidence of the interviews being edited and this gives the viewer a sense of watching in real time. It also demonstrates the imperfect and contradictory nature of reality, which can do nothing but let viewers make their own mind up.